Thursday, 23 April 2020

More Lockdown gaming & painting

I'm into week 2 of furlough now.   For non-UK people this means I am effectively taking paid time off...employers can claim 80% of furloughed staff's salaries from the government.  Luckily my employer is making up the remaining 20% so it's not too bad.  My day is largely filled with dog walking and then odd jobs that I've managed to avoid for months (or years), or baking... I've discovered I'm quite good at following a recipe!

Of course there's the odd bit of painting to fill in the hours...another 24 foot knights for my Wars of the Roses army completed and I have added flags and banners to some of the figures as well.  I realised after taking this that the Flemish flag was actually on upside down so I've fixed this now!!

The flags are a mix of the ones that come with the boxed sets from Perry and some very nice flags from Pete's Flags.

I've now painted all the Wars of the Roses figures I already had so have jsut picked up another box of Perry European Mercenaries to flesh out my Flemish Crossbowmen and Burgundian Handgunners.  I think they might be joined by some Scots Spearmen as well.

I've also been trying out some online gaming.  I've had a look at Tabletop Simulator but, despite being given a 1:1 tutorial find this very confusing.  To be fair I've adopted my usual approach of just randomly clicking on things to find out what they do rather than looking at the various tutorials that are available!  Maybe I should do that before I dismiss it completely..

I've also had a look at Vassal and managed a game of Lock'n'Load Tactical which worked pretty well once we'd worked out what we were doing.  A better option though is the digital version of LnL which is available on Steam. This is a squad level game very like Advanced Squad Leader... I played ASL many years ago at uni and it seemed to have an almost religious level of following among the gamers I met who played it..this combined with a huge ring-binder full of rules was enough to put off for years.  Lock'n'Load is a similar but simpler system and now has a computer version as well as the Vassal game.  I'd already played the boardgame version of LnL so the rules largely made sense and the computer handles all the line of sight and visibility queries that can crop up in a game.

So far they have released a starter set with 4 scenarios which is very reasonably priced and are now releasing new modules for different far there are Normandy and Vietnam modules with Russia and the Falklands due for release soon.

This is a screenshot from one of the games we have played online which sadly marked the point where the US defence of Vierville fell apart.  The US squad in the top centre of the screen somehow held off several German squads but was surrounded and unable to stop their victory.  Games tend to have a tight turn limit which means you have to commit to attacking and makes for a really fun game.

Now they have improved the online play options it's been a good way to still get a bit of gaming in against a real opponent.  The game is still in early release so there are odd glitches that crop up...our game this evening froze just as my opponent called in an artillery strike on my pluck Vietcong defenders ( a lucky break for me!).  What was impressive was that within less than hour of submitting a bug report about the freezing, the game developers had replied personally and fixed the glitch!

If you enjoy online gaming have a look at the game here...

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

More Lockdown painting

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well despite everything that is going on.

As I've been working a lot on my Wars of the Roses figures I decided to have a bit of variety and started on my Warlord Games WW2 Japanese.  The box comes with 30 figures and i'd hoped this would be enough to put together most of a platoon for Chain of Command but of course it isn't.  I'll need to invest in another box to make sure I have enough, especially for the hordes of knee mortar wielding soldiers.  And then of course I'll need some Command figures... and then some support weapons... and then some tanks...  It's a very slippery slope!!

The figures themselves are very nice although quite a few seem to suffer from being quite hunched over in  rather odd poses

There are 4 LMGs in the box which look rather nice

Every Japanese army needs at least one soldier charging with a sword!

I've completed a dozen so far but I do really need to get back to WotR Men at Arms or I'll be falling behind in the arms race with Eric the Shed and the other Shed Denizens!

Apart from painting I have been spending at least an hour or 2 each day in the park exercising with the dogs and trying to avoid all the other dog walkers, cyclists, runners and families who are also going stir crazy.

To get my gaming fix I've been experimenting with online games.  I picked up a copy of Lock'n'Load Tactical Digital from Steam as it was available very cheap.  This is a straight port of the boardgame onto the PC with a cheap starter set available for £4 

This only has 4 scenarios but is a good taster and more modules are gradually being released.  The game itself is very like Advanced Squad Leader in feel (although to be fair I have never played much ASL) but without the doorstop sized rulebook.  The only downside is that it is still in Early Release so there are still glitches being uncovered. 

A sample screenshot

The main one at the moment is that there isn't an obvious way to play against an online should allow this but unless I've missed something, there isn't a way to connect so we are going to try playing this on Vassal instead..another system I'm trying to get to grips with.  I also picked up a copy of Tabletop Simulator as it was half-price (normally £14)...this is like a fancy version of Vassal as far as I can see but has the potential to allow you to play miniature games online such as Black Powder or Chain of Command.   It does seem quite fiddly and I have a lot of learning to do!!  It's a whole new world....

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Lockdown painting update

Well, we're into week 2 of the UK lockdown and my wife and I haven't killed each other yet!  To be fair it isn't as drastic for me as it has been for many others as I already work from home and my wife retired early so is also used to being at home.  My day to day work is broadly the same but obviously face to face meetings have now been replaced with an endless cycle of phone calls and Zoom meetings.  I work in the charity sector and this has been very badly hit with a massive fall in donations so I do expect the 'furlough' discussion at some point in the next few weeks though.

Painting continues at pace with the odd distraction from PC games (Civ 6 is a real time waster!).  I've now completed 120 Perry Wars of the Roses figures.

Lord Percy's Rhythm and Blues Quartet

All infantry so far... a mix of Men at Arms, Bowmen, Billmen and some Burgundian mercenaries.  I'll need to add some Mounted Men at Arms and Light Horse at some point but I may have to take a break from the WotR and find something else to paint: my attention span is pretty short and it would be nice to work on something else for a bit.  Luckily (like most wargamers) finding some unpainted figures to paint isn't going to be a problem!  I might even work on my ACW Ironclads... I keep saying this and then finding excuses to do something else, not sure why!  I think next on the list will be this lot...

I bought these last summer and they have been left to mature nicely while I worked on my AWI armies and the WotR retinue (can't believe how much I've painted in the last 6 months...definitely more than in the last few years combined!).  I've always fancied building forces for WW2 in the Far East and eventually plunged in with these figures.  My plan was to build a Japanese platoon for Chain of Command and then put together some Chindits or Australians as opponents.  All my WW2 gaming has generally been Europe based so I'm not sure where this notion came from although I blame things like this from my youth...

Banzai!: Three of the Best Brit-V-Japanese Commanic Comic Book ...

Warlord #120 (Issue)

The lockdown has also meant more hunting around to find things to watch on tv.  I can highly recommend The Mandalorian which is now out on the Disney+ channel.  It defintiely has a cowboy vibe about it and I loved this spoof trailer which appeared recently...

I've also just watched the last episode of Star Trek Picard.   I have mixed feeling about Star Trek series but this has been really excellent.  The ending was a little predictable (I won't say any more) but was still very good despite this and the tone of the series has been really enjoyable all the way through.

Star Trek: Picard (Official Site) Watch on CBS All Access